Do Jewish Overnight Camp Directors celebrate Thanksgiving at together at camp? Ummmm…No! But at each of their celebrations they think about camp; giving thanks for campers, counselors, parents and staff.

Why? Because the people at camp make each camp what it is.

Counselors, in particular, can be the heart of a camp. Camp Directors describe their contributions in their own words better than I can.

Why are you thankful to your counselors?

Laura Gurvis, URJ Camp Eisner

“For their patience, tireless work and their commitment to doing what they can to have a positive impact on the life of each of their campers. “ Laura Gurvis, URJ Camp Eisner

“For their desire to be on staff so that they can be there for their campers, and no longer for themselves. They really “get it” too.” Ellen Felcher, Camp Pembroke

“For their passion for Camp and giving back to their campers.” Ken Shifman, Camp Avoda

Eric Rightor, Bauercrest


“For their patience with our kids and with me this past year as I learned all about Bauercrest in my first year.  Their dedication to deliver a memorable program for our campers each and every day of the summer is unbelievable to watch.” Eric Rightor, Camp Bauercrest

“For all they do to serve the needs of our campers, all day, every day!” Rachel Mersky Woda, Camp Jori



Josh Edelglass, Camp Ramah New England

“For choosing to spend their summers at Ramah.  These great young people have so many options they can pursue and so many different directions in which they can find themselves pulled.  Every year I am newly bowled over and humbled that they choose to give their time and effort to Ramah. “ Joshua Edelglass, Camp Ramah New England

If we boil it down, they are thankful for their patience, choices, hard work, energy, giving hearts, abilities and dedication. As a parent of a camper, I am grateful to them too.

We (, the extended Ginn/Raphael family,) have a Thanksgiving tradition. We go around the table and tell each other (Yes, aloud!) why we are thankful. Sometimes the answers are no brainers; each other, good health, and good food. Sometimes they are funny like the time my cousin said she was grateful for not being an idiot and another cousin added that she was thankful for no longer being with an idiot.

This year, I’m going to think about the qualities of amazing counselors, thank them, and the other people in my life who have patience, work hard, make good choices, add energy, and share their giving hearts. I may not say all of that out loud to our crowd (Editing is important in blogs and at the Thanksgiving table.) but then again, I might.

If you want to meet directors and staff from 15 camps, come to Camp For A Day on December 7th from 2 to 5 pm. Your kids can play four square, dance, sing, do digital photography, or make a menorah while you do.  Register at!